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Old 28th Jun 2010, 06:42
  #3931 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Age: 72
Posts: 1,561
Real aircraft?

It was all very, v. mysterious, how Shell decided to get these two unproven types, the Dornier 328 and the EC155, when many people were playing "Connect the Dots" between what we thought we knew about the way the Germans and the French use back-handers as just another marketing tool and how an American company such as Bell Textron supposedly has to operate.

I won't bore you with too much stuff about aircraft with wings that just sit there and flap up and down just a little bit instead of whirling around like mad. I just will say that the obvious choice was the boring old Dash 8 and not the glamourous, exciting and new Dornier 328, when we did see some unforeseen problems with the 328 just as I think there were some with the very new EC155.

You tell me but is it not so that skids rather than wheels is the way to go when you are operating off heli-pads on soft terrain? I would have thought that this meant something like the Bell 412 was the obvious choice rather than the EC155 but perhaps I am missing something to do with its weight or some other operational factor.

Anyway, from what I know of Shell, to have someone here calling him-, her- or itself "Shell Management," I just naturally took that for a joke!

Why that is, in part, well... I was stuck on a Shell contract in Algeria for a short time with a very nice young man who had come from Papua New Guinea. There he had been landing on those short strips up on the mountainsides, when I found that seriously impressive. The only thing was, he told me, he never had to contend with strong crosswinds so that he was a bit weak on that. Short he could do perfectly, sideways could be a problem.

One day he was caught by a gust on landing so that he made a small, harmless excursion out into the bundu before gathering it up and getting it back on the pavement. This was basically a non-event and just one of those things except that the Shell Safety Supervisor classed this a Level 5 event, when 5 usually is something involving risk of death or serious injury, I believe.

I asked the Shell man what number he was going to use for a real Level 5 now that he had stuck that on this non-event, when he just looked at me in that way they have, sort of like what you get by stepping on a toad. I guess he hadn't thought that far ahead. Anyway, I was struck by how similar Shell in Algeria was to Shell in Nigeria and how deeply unpleasant they can be to work for. I often had the feeling they had hired us for our aviation expertise but then chose to tell us what to do rather than trying to let us just do the job with what we already knew.

Here I think perhaps Shell and Caverton should make a perfect match, at least for a little while. Everything will look just perfect on paper but in reality?

Last edited by chuks; 28th Jun 2010 at 08:17.
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